Patrica Neal, gutsy lady.

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stuart.uk
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Patrica Neal, gutsy lady.

Post by stuart.uk »

I can't say I've seen to many of her films, but she usually always impressed. Patrica did two good war films with John Wayne in Operation Pacific and Harms Way.

Though IMO The Hasty Heart was overated, It made Richard Todd a star, as a dying Scotsman in love with a nurse, played by Patrica. Sadly for him, her heart belonged to Ronald Reagen.

I don't know if Patrica was supposed to play the older woman in Breakfeast At Tiffany's, but she was more or less the same age as George Peppard, who played her toyboy lover. She was and looked terrific in that film.

I haven't seen her in Hud, but I bet she was terrific with Paul Newman.

In the mid 60s Patrica suffered a series of strokes that nearly killed her. Despite this set back she made an astonishing recovery. It's just a pity more wasn't made of her in the 70s and 80s, because she was still a great actress.

One film she made in the 70s was Baxter, a Brit movie directed by Lionel Jeffries. She brilliantly played a social worker trying to help a small troubled boy called Baxter, along with fellow co-star Britt Ekland. It's a film now forgotten, but i would like to see it again.

Patrica also played a dying widowed mother, whose kids are adopted by Victor French in Little House On The Praire, in an episode inspired by a Disney film All Mine To Give starring Glynis Johns and Cameron Mitchell.

She also played Richard Thomas' mother in a very good tv movie All Quiet On The Western Front, in a film that didn't disgrace its more famous film version of 1930

Glenda Jackson brilliantly played Patrica in a movie that centred around her battle against the several strokes that nearly killed her.
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

I read her book many years ago. I was very moved by her story. I didn't completely take to her, she nearly took Gary Cooper from his wife.

It was many years ago, I know there are a few Coop fans on here, maybe they have a better formed opinion of her.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

Patricia Neal is a brilliant actress. I'll never forget her performance in both Hud and The Fountainhead.
I found her autobiography a very honest account of her own life with its mistakes and its tragedy. She is a real survivor.
As for her affair with Cooper, well, she was really more a victim than a predator. Cooper had countless affairs with many of his partners. She wasn't the first one. Anyway, it provided a real electricity in their scenes in Fountainhead which Vidor used to the full. If there is only one film to watch, it's this one. :wink:
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

The Fountainhead is a film I've always wanted to see. I read the book so long ago, I think I was 16, I would probably have a very different impression these days.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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myrnaloyisdope
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Post by myrnaloyisdope »

I found the The Fountainhead to be an odd movie. The dialogue is very bookish, that nothing feels very natural at all. I also didn't really understand why I was supposed to sympathize with Cooper's character. He would rather starve than compromise, ok I guess, but it seemed implausible and arrogant that someone would absolutely refuse to make any concessions to the people who were paying him.

That being said Cooper isn't nearly as wooden as I usually find him, Patricia Neal is quite good, and Vidor's direction is great as always.

Neal is fantastic in The Day the Earth Stood Stilland A Face in the Crowd. I definitely would like to see more of her.
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Shonna
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Post by Shonna »

I just read the recent Biography on Patricia Neal.
It was great! Talk about a tragic life!!!!
klondike

Post by klondike »

The Fountainhead is my favorite movie of all time; for that reason, I try to write about it here on SSO as little as possible, because frankly, I doubt I can even be entirely objective.
[And of course, that in itself is ironic, as the philosophy that Ayn Rand founded was called Objectivism.]
As for the biggest reason why everyone should sympathize with Howard Roark (although by true Roarkian principle, he would never care how you, or anyone else, might feel about him), that would involve the actions of all those envious and/or disapproving other characters who were not content to simply mock and/or disregard Howard Roark, but rather felt compelled, from their exposure to his standards, to go far out of their individual ways to revile him, and slander him, and falsely accuse him, and actually even unite to ostracize him from all levels of society, and ultimately even ruin him, as they had his mentor, Henry Cameron.
The point of Rand's objectivist stand is that it is no less than absolutely heroic, and should be considered extremely admirable, for the motivated individual to be willing to sacrifice virtually anything to achieve their highest goals, and that likewise, those same individuals should be completely unwilling to sacrifice any aspect of their desires or pursuits simply to satisfy the conventions of society, the paramount example of this higher awareness being the lofty aspiration to completely disregard the personal opinions of others, in general, and to wax uncaring about any form of public recognition or group acceptance.
Distilled down to it's most basic foundation, it's pretty well described in Roark's (Cooper's) sterling, stirring address to the jury at the very climax of Fountainhead; truly, a shame that so few new viewers make it that far into what I freely admit can be quite a demanding opus of movie magnitude.
I mean, really, get that far, and you'll probably hang in for the last 5 or 6 minutes; then, having seen the whole thing, you may still not like it a lot, but you'll sure understand it a lot better!
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

That's really interesting Klondike! :) I too am a great fan of this Vidor picture. I first saw it as a teenager -dubbed in French- on French TV. I was absolutely caught by its intensity and the relentless pacing. At that time, the message probably completely bypassed me. We move 10 years later, I manage to see the film again in English. Again, I am totally fascinated by the noirish atmosphere and the intense performances. Then, when I was in London, another 10 years later, I see the film for the first time on a big screen. By that time, I have become a more 'film conscious' person. The London public sometimes laughed at the OTT dialogue written by Ayn Rand. But there is no denying the power of the film, especially on a big screen. Afterwards, I managed -at last!- to purchase a VHS of it. I must have seen this picture about 50 times altogether. It's very bold styliscally, like a Wagnerian opera. This is probably why I enjoyed it so much through the years. But as for the actual political message, I am now a bit worried by the excesses of Ayn Rand. But Vidor has modified quite a lot her ideas by his great casting. He chose Cooper to play the super-egotist Roark. The mild-mannered cowboy gave the part a real charm while a Bogart who have been just harsh. Instead of Stanwyck for Dominique, he chose Patricia Neal who brought an incredible sensuality.
Several scenes are unforgettable. First of all, the one in the quarry. Dominique is pacing like a wild animal and looking down at Roark who is working as a simple labourer in a quarry. The intensity of this scene is just incredible. :shock:
The film was a flop when it came out. Too bold for the public to take on. But nowadays, at least in France, it's a cult picture. :D
klondike

Post by klondike »

Ann Harding wrote: Instead of Stanwyck for Dominique, he chose Patricia Neal who brought an incredible sensuality.
Couldn't agree with you more, Ann; in fact, I don't think there's a single sour note in the cast's entire ensemble.
Interesting footnote r.e. Stanwyck: according to her, she was the original promoter championing the filming of Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead, even to the extent (purportedly) of bringing Rand to Hollywood, and squiring her around to meet all the cocktail/soiree set, introducing her to anybody with even a potential of filmmaking "juice", and pushing copies of the novel on everyone who couldn't outrace her to their parked cars.
When the project finally did take off, and la madamoiselle magnifique Neal was cast as Dominique instead of the "locked-in" Ms. S, Babs went into a fuming, shrieking rage over it, even by Pacific Coast Highway standards, and spent several days threatening comeuppance on all manner of people she felt had betrayed her!
Boy, and you thought she was scary in The Furies!!
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Post by benwhowell »

I'm glad you mentioned Patricia's role in "Breakfast At Tiffany's," Stu. It is a "small part," but she steals the scenes as "a very stylish girl." I wonder if this part was written specifically for her? (As you know, that character does not exist in the novella.)
Another favorite role for me is in the TV movie, "The Homecoming." (Which introduced us to The Waltons.) Her "realistic" portrayal of a wife and mother trying to remain optimistic during a really trying Christmas season is truly inspired. The combination of that incredible voice with her expressive face and the physical gestures of a woman just expecting the worse leaves me in tears every time.
I also love the fact that she came out of retirement (?) to travel to Holly Springs, Mississippi for a small (but very significant) part in Robert Altman's "Cookie's Fortune." (No spoiler here, but she played Cookie.) OK-here's a little SPOILER...Altman pulled this stunt before-with Lillian Gish in "A Wedding."
Did I mention that Holly Springs was the county seat for the county (Marshall) I lived in for several years. I got my first driver's license (at 15) in Holly Springs.
Handsome Johnny Eck
klondike

Post by klondike »

Sorry to have focussed overmuch on Fountainhead, Ben & Stu; of course, you're right, Ms. Neal was responsible for many other fine performances and significant cinematic influence!
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

I like The Fountainhead quite a bit as a film--much better than Rand's novel which wasn't so much a novel, as a thesis with a story wrapped around it. I do find flaws though, mainly in the character of Ellseworth Toohey who is not well defined in the film and is seen to be more of a "Scrooge" than the dangerous ideals he represents in the book. Cooper also complained he didn't really understand his character here, but it's hard to say if that helps or hurts him.

As was noted, forceful and bold is the word here and Cooper's character's hesitancy and restraint gives some welcome contrast to many of the other actors full tilt performances. Rand insisted on writing the screenplay (it was in her contract), but Vidor softens her brashness where he is able. My favorite scene is when Roark's mentor Henry Cameron (Henry Hull in great form) collapses and is rushed to the hospital. The upshot from inside the ambulance shows giant skyscrapers that he has designed looking down on him as he is dying, much like Dryer's Vampyr (1932). There are many other Vidor touches, mostly cinematic, that give this film a life of its own despite Rand's tedious script.
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

I completely agree Mr Arkadin. When I first saw the film the 'politics' behind it really escaped me (especially with just subtitles to read). Later I read Rand's novel in English and realised what a great job Vidor had done with it. It could have been pretty ridiculous if he had not soften the OTT demonstrations of Rand. :wink:
The scene in the ambulance is certainly amazing, greatly helped by the cinematography and the score by Steiner.
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Post by coopsgirl »

I think I’m in the minority of Gary Cooper devotees who likes Patricia. At first, I didn’t like her and this was due in large part to first seeing her in The Fountainhead (actually I had seen The Day the Earth Stood Still before this one but that was before I was a big Gary fan and didn’t know who Patricia was in relation to him) which I have only been able to sit through in its entirety once. Gary and Patricia’s scenes are great, you can really feel the chemistry but the dialogue is interminable and the characters are too rigid and unbelievable and it just turns me off.

Anyway, the more I got to know about her and all that she went through in her life, the more I started to like her. She’s not one of my favorite actresses (although she was a good actress especially in A Face in the Crowd which I think was her best performance) but I do like her as a person. Like another poster said, she didn’t go after Gary and try to steal him from his wife. She wasn’t his first affair nor would she be the last but I think there was something special between them, enough so that he did leave his wife for a few years to be with Pat. She still loves him very much today and as a fan who loves him too, that makes her okay in my book :) .
“I never really thought of myself as an actor. But I’d learned to ride on my dad’s ranch and I could do some roping stunts and working as an extra was better than starving as an artist nobody wanted on the West Coast.” - Gary Cooper
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

Stuart (or anyone here), did you ever seen her in the British movie called
Psyche 59 (that's Psyche with an "e" ha!)? It's rather strange, one of those strange psychological dramas that turned up quite a lot in the 1960s. She played a blind woman, married with a younger sister (Samantha Eggar) that lived with her and her husband (Curd Jurgens). TCM aired it over here in the States a couple of years ago and though I
wouldn't call it great, it did feature a remarkably touching performance
by Miss Neal.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058499/
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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